Mary Jerram

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Her Honour Magistrate

Mary Jerram
State Coroner of New South Wales
In office
7 May 2007 – 11 Nov 2013
Appointed byJohn Hatzistergos
Preceded byJohn Abernethy
Succeeded byMichael Barnes
Personal details
Dunedin, New Zealand
Spouse(s)Ian Cameron

Mary Stella Jerram AM (b. 1945 in Dunedin, New Zealand) is a former State Coroner of New South Wales.[1][2] Jerram was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the Honorary Division in the 2018 Australia Day Honours: "For significant service to the law in New South Wales as State Coroner, and as a role model for women in the legal profession."[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Born and raised in Dunedin, New Zealand to a "fairly conservative middle-class family",[4] Jerram attended St. Hilda's Collegiate School[5] in Dunedin, New Zealand, and the University of Otago, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Languages.[6][7] Following her graduation, she was gainfully employed as a high school teacher of English and modern languages in Sydney, having moved there in 1969 with her husband and two young children.

Regarding her career as a teacher, Jerram ;[6] states that, "at the same time, I think I never really saw myself as teaching for the rest of my life" and with a previous history of advocacy,[8] she soon thereafter commenced law studies at The University of Sydney.[6]


Early legal career[edit]

Following her completion of law studies, Jerram worked as a legal officer at the NSW Independent Teachers' Union from 1980 to 1987[4][9] and as a criminal duty solicitor and senior advocate at the NSW Legal Aid Commission from 1987 to 1994,[9][10] up until her secondment to an industrial inquiry into prisoners and prison officers.[9]

Magisterial appointment[edit]

In 1994, Jerram was appointed as a Magistrate; after one general year and one as a specialist Children's Magistrate of New South Wales, she undertook the Goulburn country circuit for the next two-and-a-half years.

In 2000, Jerram became the Deputy Chief Magistrate of the Local Court of New South Wales. In this capacity and role, Jerram provided advice regarding legislative and other proposals of assistance to the New South Wales Government and also education for other magistrates.

Early retirement[edit]

At the end of 2001, Jerram took an early retirement to live on a 304-ha. farm in her homeland of New Zealand. For the following five years, she had a commission as Acting Magistrate and came from New Zealand about five times a year for a fortnight to act as a locum, mainly at the Downing Centre in Sydney, Australia.

Magisterial reappointment[edit]

After 5 years of retirement, Jerram "missed the law and […] Australia" and moved back to Australia.[11]

In October 2006, she was re-appointed as a full-time NSW magistrate.[10]

Coronial appointment[edit]

Jerram was appointed by New South Wales Government Attorney-General John Hatzistergos, with the announcement made on 3 May 2007,[12] and succeeded John Abernethy as the State Coroner of NSW.[13]

Commencing her (initially) 5-year contract and her tenure as State Coroner of NSW on 7 May 2007, Jerram became the first female State Coroner of NSW and was assisted by the Deputy State Coroner, His Honour Magistrate Paul A. MacMahon. Jerram retired in November 2013.

Personal life[edit]

Jerram was married to businessman Ian Grant Cameron, a fellow New Zealander, from 1964-1977.[4] Jerram and Cameron had two children together: Peter, born in 1964, and Alice, born in 1965. Jerram and Cameron moved to Sydney from Dunedin in 1969, initially settling in Beecroft, then, after a few years, settling permanently in the inner- city suburb of Balmain. Jerram and Cameron joined the Balmain branch of the Australian Labor Party in October 1975.[4] Jerram left the ALP around 1987.[4]

Jerram married Australian architect Philip Manning Taylor in 1995.rel[4]

Coroner's Court of New South Wales, Glebe, Australia.png GoulburnCourtHouse.JPG
The State Coroner's Court on Parramatta Road in Glebe, New South Wales. The Court House at Goulburn, New South Wales where Mary Jerram presided as Magistrate of the Local Court.
Preceded by
John Abernethy
State Coroner of New South Wales
Succeeded by
Michael Barnes


  1. ^ Local Court of New South Wales. (2006.) Local Court of New South Wales Annual Review 2006 Archived 21 June 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Local Court of New South Wales. (2008.) Local Court of New South Wales Annual Review 2008 Archived 21 June 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "JERRAM, Mary Stella". Australian Honours Search Facility, Dept of the Prime Minister & Cabinet. Retrieved 25 January 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Tony Harris. (2007.) Basket Weavers and True Believers: The Making and Unmaking the Labor Left in Leichhardt Municipality C1970–1991, Leftbank Publishing, pp. 52–3.
  5. ^ "Jerram, Mary – St Hilda's Collegiate School". The Alliance of Girls' Schools. March 2012. Retrieved 2 May 2013.
  6. ^ a b c Monica Attard (22 January 2012). "Mary Jerram, NSW State Coroner". ABC. Retrieved 2 May 2013.
  7. ^ Monica Attard (5 June 2011). "Mary Jerram, NSW State Coroner". ABC. Retrieved 2 May 2013.
  8. ^ Saffron Howden (29 October 2011). "Newsmaker: Mary Jerram". Retrieved 2 May 2013.
  9. ^ a b The Statutory Functions of the Coroner – Continuing Professional Development Programs | College of Law
  10. ^ Geesche Jacobsen (3 May 2007). "State Coroner swaps tree change for gavel". Retrieved 2 May 2013.
  11. ^ Local Court of New South Wales. (2011.) Local Court of New South Wales Annual Review 2011 Archived 21 June 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ "NSW gets first female coroner". ABC News. 3 May 2007. Retrieved 2 May 2013.

External links[edit]